It's gone final, and the Sounders steal it 1-0 on a Fredy Montero goal on a 28-yard free kick in the 90th minute. It was Montero's first goal in seven games ... his second-longest drought as a Sounder.
Seattle played shorthanded over the final 41 minutes, after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was sent off with a second yellow card.
The Sounders jump to 6-4-7 and 25 points at the exact midpoint of the season. That's just half a point behind Sigi Schmid's 1.5-point-per-game formula for playoff safety.
Here was Sigi Schmid's overview:
In the first half I thought our play was spotty. I didn’t think we played with a lot of energy. It almost looked more like we were the team that had played three games (in a week) and not them. So that was one of the things that we talked about in the second half: picking up the tempo and playing better. But obviously then everything changes with Jhon Kennedy’s red card in the second half, and then Brad Evans has to come off injured as well. It forced our hands a little bit on a couple of the changes, but I thought the team showed resiliency and I thought we battled. We got fortunate on the one that they hit off the post. Sometimes you have to be a little bit lucky as well. For sure that was a great effort from them, and Plata was giving Riley some problems on the flank for sure. But we held firm and ended up getting a great goal from Montero.
The club flies home tomorrow and will return to action Thursday when the New York Red Bulls visit Qwest.
I'll add more notes and quotes in new posts above. But for now, here are the unofficial stats:
Scoring summary: SEA -- Fredy Montero (free kick) 90
Toronto FC - Stefan Frei, Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Doneil Henry, Danleigh Borman, Nathan Sturgis (Oscar Cordon 46), Mikael Yourassowsky, Alen Stevanovic (Javier Martina 71), Nick Soolsma, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata.
Substitutes Not Used: Milos Kocic, Matt Gold, Matt Stinson, Dan Gargan, Ashtone Morgan.
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Maicon Santos 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Nick Soolsma 1, Maicon Santos); FOULS: 18 (Oscar Cordon 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 5 (Nathan Sturgis 4); SAVES: 3 (Stefan Frei 3)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Erik Friberg 71), Lamar Neagle (Zach Scott 52), Mike Fucito (Alvaro Fernandez 69), Fredy Montero.
Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Leo Gonzalez, Pat Noonan, Nate Jaqua.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Osvaldo Alonso 3, Lamar Neagle 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Brad Evans 2); FOULS: 10 (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 4, Fredy Montero 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 4 (Mauro Rosales 3); SAVES: 2 (Kasey Keller 2)
Misconduct Summary:TOR -- Ty Harden (caution; Goalkeeper Interference) 18TOR -- Danleigh Borman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 26SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 34SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 49SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (ejection; Second Caution) 49TOR -- Mikael Yourassowsky (caution; Reckless Foul) 65TOR -- Oscar Cordon (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+ Referee: Yader ReyesReferee's Assistants: Craig Lowry, Corey Rockwell4th Official: Fotis BazakosAttendance: 21,839Time of Game: 1:54Weather: Sunny and 75 degrees
90th minute: GOAL. Montero scores on free kick. Seattle 1-0. Fans rushing to exits.
82nd minute: Sounders dodge bullet as Javier Martina bangs a clear shot off the right post.
75th minute: For now at least, one of those odd cases where the Sounders are playing better since going a man down.
71st minute: Friberg in for Brad Evans, who has bruised ankle.
69th minute: Fucito out and Fernandez in -- his first appearance since hurting his hamstring May 28 at RSL.
53rd minute: Scott in for Neagle.
49th minute: Second yellow to Hurtado for sort of stumbling onto Stevanovi, taking him down. First Sounders ejection of the season. Last time Seattle had a player sent off was Aug. 14 of last year when Leo Gonzalez was sent off in a 0-0 draw with Chivas. But that came in the 93rd minute. the last time Seattle actually played a man down was July 11 of last year when Miguel Montano was sent off in the 55th minute.
Sounders have had eight red cards in their history and are 0-6-2 in those games.
Only Montero playing forward now.
Second half: ... has begun. No lineup changes.
Halftime: Nil-nil. Toronto had by far the more dangerous chances after Fucito's early miss. Sounders have taken two shots, neither on goal. Toronto took six, one on goal.
22nd minute: Easy enough Keller save, but Sounders defense continues to let Toronto attackers in too close too easily and too often.
19th minute: Yellow to Ty Harden for jumping into Kasey Keller for a high ball into the box. Followed by scrum in goal as teammates defend Keller, who stayed down a while but seems fine.
First 15 minutes: Toronto has won a couple of 1-v-1 challenges to get into penalty area. Sounders defense has to tighten. Fucito miss was only real chance for Seattle.
11th minute: Fortunate non-call for Sounders as Mikaek Yourassowsky goes down in the box after apparent contact from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
2nd minute: Good chance early, but Fucito rolls one wide across the goalmouth.
Kickoff: The game has begun. Sounders in shale/shale, Toronto in red/red.
And -- despite perfect weather -- lots of empty seats. Otherwise nice atmosphere, though. Steel drum band playing, drum beating, fans chanting and singing.
(Also very cool Canadian anthem here. The PA plays the first verse and then lets the fans take it solo from there. Not as loud as Timbers Army on opening night, but pretty nice.)
Lineup: GK - 18 Kasey Keller; RB - 7 James Riley; CB - 31 Jeff Parke; CB - 34 Jhon Kennedy Hurtado; LB - 5 Tyson Wahl; RM - 10 Mauro Rosales; CM - 6 Osvaldo Alonso; CM - 3 Brad Evans; LM - 27 Lamar Neagle; F - 2 Mike Fucito; F - 17 Fredy Montero.
Reserves: Terry Boss, Leo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez, Pat Noonan, Nate Jaqua.
For Toronto: GK - 24 Stefan Frei; RB - 27 Richard Eckersley; CB - 20 Ty Harden; CB - 4 Doneil Henry; LB - 8 Danleigh Borman; M - 11 Nathan Sturgis; M - 19 Mikael Yourassowsky;M - 10 Alen Stevanovic; F - 18 Nick Soolsma; F - 29 Maicon Santos; F - 7 Joao Plata. Reserves: Milos Kocic, Javier Martina, Matt Gold, Oscar Cordon, Matt Stinson, Dan Gargan, Ashtone Morgan.
Local color: Just walked around the stadium a bit. It's not luxurious around the concourses, but you can't beat that view, which I think tops Real Salt Lake for the most spectacular in MLS.
While wandering, I saw just a couple of folks in rave green. And this morning -- while visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame downtown -- I bumped into a guy wearing the bright yellow jersey of the Columbus Crew, probably TFC's top historic rival.
Also earlier this week, coach Sigi Schmid made a comment about the odd food they have at the concession stands here. So I made a note of that and went and checked. The oddest I found was a chicken butty -- yes, a chicken butty -- which is apparently a chicken breast between a slice of bread and french fries. (I didn't order that. However, I did order a burger and fries last night, and a cup of gravy was served along with the fries. That, frankly, is a tradition worth importing.)
Pregame: It couldn't be a more beautiful day at BMO Field in Toronto for today's 4 p.m. game between Sounders FC and Toronto FC. As I write this about two hours before gametime, it's 25 Celsius, which I believe is about 78 in real degrees. In other words, hot now, but it will steadily tick down from here.
We'll keep this blog post open all afternoon and evening for pregame, in-game and postgame reports. We'll also have some updates on our twitter page at the address on the left rail of this page